Marc-André Bahl

Marc-André Bahl (centre)

Racist, anti-vaxx comments by candidates emerge ahead of Montreal election

The candidates remain in the race following today’s revelations.

Radio-Canada reported today that two candidates running as part of the Mouvement Montréal team are not not (fully) vaccinated, have attended protests against government health measures and, in one case, has been sharing pandemic-related conspiracy theories and racist, xenophobic posts on social media.

The candidates in question are Côte-des-Neiges – Notre-Dame-de-Grâce candidate Rita Ikhouane and Rosemont – La Petite-Patrie candidate Marc-André Bahl. Bahl, who ran for the Parti Québécois in 2012, comes from the Ralliement pour Montréal team, which merged with Mouvement Montréal last month. He has written favourably about Donald Trump, regularly rails against “wokes” and has said “Islamophobia is not racism,” and that “we have a duty to criticize” — all of which doesn’t gel with. his presence in a progressive, diverse party led by a POC, Balarama Holness.

Rita Ikhouane

In a radio interview this morning, Holness said he wasn’t aware of the candidate’s comments. The former head of Ralliement pour Montréal, Marc-Antoine Desjardins (currently the #2 man at Mouvement Montréal), said “the comments are bordering on bad taste or black humour,” that Bahl has received his first vaccine dose and will remain in the race.

As for Okhouane, Holness said that she will also remain in the race, but that “she will not be invited to any public event.” Okhouane told Radio-Canada that she isn’t against vaccines, just against getting the shots herself, for the time being. She attended the Québec Debout protest in May.

All three of the main mayoral candidates, Valérie Plante, Denis Coderre and Balarama Holness, are in favour of a vaccine mandate for all elected Montreal officials.

For more about the Montreal municipal election on Nov. 6–7, please visit the Elections Montreal website. 

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